Category Archives: Interruptions

Coming Out Of The Fog

We’ve all been in a fog this past year. There has been so much unknown, fear, and uncertainty. As we move forward to the next chapter, it’s like we’re coming out of the fog. Let’s make sure we come out of this fog with some intention and focus.

I’ve heard from many moms how much they’ve enjoyed having family dinners together on a regular basis. Not rushing around from so many activities. Not being so overbooked on the weekends. I’ve enjoyed not rushing around in the mornings getting everyone ready for the day. I like that we all sit down for lunch together.

stone steps through green grass. coming out of the fog

Yes, moms have been overwhelmed with so much this past year. The unknown. Remote learning. Decision fatigue. Working while your kid is sitting next to you at the dining room table. The piles of laundry and dishes that seem to accumulate when you’re not looking (which, let’s be honest, is not just a pandemic thing). The fact that everyone has to eat what feels like all the time. The worrying about the health of loved ones. The laying awake at 2 am worrying about everything. Again, the unknown.

So what’s next?

As life around us starts to open up, what are you doing next? Take some time to answer these questions. Ask your family these questions! Use them as a starting point for what’s next.

  • What is it you want to keep about this past year? (For me, it’s Sunday night card games with my husband).
  • What from your pre-pandemic life do you not miss? (For me, it’s saying yes to things because I feel I should. I’m going to be much more intentional about how I spend my time).
  • What do you want your life to look like going forward?

Let’s not go back to the crazy, overwhelmed, rushing around we did pre-pandemic. Say yes to what is important to us. Let’s build back better than we were in 2019. Let’s get intentional about our lives.

Who’s with me?

Keep reading about this topic:

One Big Interruption

Feeling Uprooted? Start Planting New Seeds

If you want some guidance around getting started on these ideas, schedule time with me or sign up below.

    I Don’t Have Time For That

    Do you keep appointments you make for yourself? What about making time to do those things that aren’t high priorities but are things you’d like to do someday?

    The things you know would make you happy or contribute to society in some way, but you’re too busy cleaning the house, completing work tasks, and entertaining the kids to get to?

    What if you made appointments with yourself that you kept as strictly as you would a client meeting, doctor’s appointment, or coffee with a friend?

    I’ve had several people ask me how to make time for things they’d like to do but aren’t high priorities. Taking digital classes (personal or professional), volunteering, doing things outside of chore and work lists.

    I suggest spending just 30 minutes taking a class. It’s not much, but over time you will make progress. Treat the time you schedule for yourself with as much respect as you would a client appointment or coffee with a friend.

    Another suggestion includes letting go of the need to keep up with all the household tasks all the time. I’m not saying let your house grow mold. But what if you spend one afternoon a month volunteering (when it’s safe to do so)? Your house isn’t going to fall apart during that time. Volunteering can be something social, where you meet new people. It can be something you do as a family.

    And at the end of your life, you’re not going to remember having a spotless, well-maintained home. Or how many things you crossed off your task list. You’re going to remember the things you did with your family and friends. The experiences you created.

    I’m not saying you should skip out on your priorities. But we also need to make time for ourselves and time for fun. And it’s ok to schedule it. You should schedule it, otherwise, it’s not going to happen.

    And, when you take breaks from your task list, you just might find yourself more productive when you come back to it. You might find that doing something else helps you solve some big client problem or gives you an idea for something at work.

    Are You Letting Tech Control You?

    Let’s talk about technology. It can be a wonderful thing. Caller ID. Text messaging. The ability to see the faces of friends and loved ones who live far away. Any funny meme that helps you get through the day.

    But technology is also full of time sucks and interruptions. Your phone constantly dinging with message alerts. Your email notifications popping up while you are working. Someone commenting on a Facebook or Instagram post.

    All of this distracts us from our priorities. We can’t focus on deep work when we’re constantly being interrupted. Or, we think the interruption is a priority so we stop what we’re doing to answer the phone, read the emails, respond to the text messages.

    What if you took back control of your time and focus? What if you turned off those notifications, closed the email programs, and didn’t have your phone constantly in your hand or pocket?

    I’m going to guess that the world will continue on just fine. It won’t stop spinning. And, you are likely to be more productive and not feel pulled in so many directions!

    Here are some more ideas to stop letting tech control you!

    • Respond to those messages and calls on your time.
    • Have auto-responders for your email stating you received their email and will respond within 24 business hours (or whatever your company requires for responses).
    • Have specific times of the day that you sit at your computer and process emails. Block the time on your calendar. Spend that time only processing your emails.
    • Turn off all notifications to email, text, etc.
    • Turn your phone on silent or leave it in another room when you are doing some deep work.
    • Put an analog clock somewhere in your office so you’re not looking at your phone to check the time. Plus, analog clocks give you a better understanding of the passing of time!

    What are you going to do this week to stop letting tech control you?

    If you want to talk further about better control over your tech, schedule a 30-minute phone call with me! Or read more about multitasking (which you’re likely doing with all those tech interruptions!)

    But I’m Good At Multitasking!

    Are you constantly checking email while on phone calls? Or jumping back and forth between tasks on your computer?

    Do you end your days feeling frazzled, like you got nothing done and wondering where your time went?

    Studies have shown that effectiveness drops by 69% for women when we multitask! That’s huge! I’ve also heard that it can take 90 seconds to get back to a task for each email notification that distracts us (turn off your notifications!) Think about how many emails you get in a day and much time is wasted with these distractions!

    multitask

    Imagine how much more you could get done in a day if you focused on one task at a time?! Our brains can’t work efficiently when focusing on more than one task at a time.

    Yes, some things can be done simultaneously. Running a load of laundry while you’re cleaning the kitchen. Exercising while listening to your favorite podcast or talking to a friend. Stirring something on the stove while talking on the phone. Tasks that require little focus (or no focus, like laundry) can be done together.

    But if you’re working on a big work project, only focus on the tasks associated with that project. Processing emails count as needing focus. (and please, no talking or texting while driving. Driving counts as one of those high-functioning tasks that you should focus on while doing it).

    We’re so used to multitasking, what can we do about it? Here are some ways to break the habit:

    • Be aware of when you start to multitask. Catch yourself and get yourself to focus on one task.
    • Set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task. You can stop when the timer goes off, or you can reset it for another 15 minutes.
    • Focus on one task at a time. If another task pops into your brain while you’re working on something, quickly write it down on a nearby piece of paper and get back to the task.
    • Know your top 3-5 tasks for the day and have a general plan.

    ​Let me know how you feel about multitasking. Do you think you’re good at it or do you feel that it pulls you in too many directions?

    Pandemics and Planning

    It feels hard to plan much of anything in the middle of a pandemic.

    plan

    If your kids are in school, you never know when you’re going to have them home for the next 2 weeks due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

    It’s hard to plan for much of anything beyond the next few weeks because we just don’t know what life will look like this summer or fall.

    This feels more complicated and disruptive than a snow day or a sick day. Maybe it feels heavier. Maybe the endless, monotonous days are getting to you! (They’re definitely getting to my family).

    So how do you plan anything or pay attention to how you’re spending your time?

    One way we can have more control over our time is to identify our daily and weekly priorities. When you know what you need to do each day, it’s a little easier to focus. If you’ve planned out your week (with room for things to shift) then you can handle last-minute surprises.

    These last-minute surprises could include a snow day or a sick kid or your kids moving from in-person learning to remote learning due to COVID-19 exposure. They could also be a last-minute project your boss throws at you.

    It’s easier to focus when you know your top priorities for each day. It’s easier to shift things around when you know your priorities for the week.

    This does not mean planning every minute with tasks. This means planning your top 3-5 priorities and leaving room for things we didn’t plan for.

    Take some time each day and start planning your top 3-5 priorities for the next day!

    If you want help with identifying your top priorities for each day, schedule a call with me! Or, check out my virtual community.

    Enough With The Interruptions

    As we head into the last week of January, we’re wrapping up our discussion on interruptions. This month has been full of them and I’m guessing not much work has been done in the last few weeks. Hopefully, we can take a break from doom-scrolling for a while and focus on other things. And also look at the other interruptions in our life.

    Interruptions

    We’ve talked about how this pandemic is one big life interruption and taking time to reflect on how we want to be spending our time. We talked about scheduling office hours so you can get things done and there’s time for family and colleagues to ask you questions.

    Now, I want to share a few ideas on dealing with interruptions that are simple and easy to implement today.

    • Turn off all notifications to emails (even better, close your email program unless you are processing emails). Have an auto-responder letting people know the times you respond to
    • Schedule time each day to process emails and return phone calls.
    • Turn your phone off, put it on silent, or put it in another room.
    • Only have the tasks on your desk that you are working on. Don’t have a bunch of tabs or programs open on your computer or lots of stuff on your desk.
    • Remove apps from your phone or tablet that easily distract you.
    • Keep a piece of paper nearby for when you think of another task you need to do. Don’t stop what you are focused on now. Simply write the idea down and come back to it later.
    • Set a timer and focus on one specific task for that amount of time.
    • Take regular breaks. Your brain can only deal with so much at any one time. Step away from your desk and move your body at least once an hour.

    Pick or choose a few to use in the next few weeks and let me know how it goes!